Issue Date: February 21, 1948
Falklands and Antarctic
Britain, Argentina and Chile were in conflict this week over islands off the lower tip of South America and the Antarctic Palmer Peninsula (Graham Land). The dispute caused a flurry of naval maneuvers, and Chilean President Gabriel Gonzalez Videla visited the area to establish 2 Chilean bases formally. (The U.S. claims no land in Antarctica.) Claims and actions:
has governed the Falklands (A on map) since 1833, when a British naval expedition routed a few Argentinians to enforce claims based on discovery 200 years earlier. Britain now defines its Falklands dependency as the wedge-shaped area between the 20th and 80th degrees west longitude, from the South Pole to the 50th parallel. This embraces all islands below South America shown on map, Palmer Peninsula and the South Sandwich Islands (southeast of South Georgia).
London warned February 16 against "acts of trespass" by Chile and Argentina and dispatched the cruiser Nigeria to the Falklands from Simonstown, South Africa.
Chile claims everything from 53 to 90 degrees west longitude, including Greenwich and the other westerly South Shetlands (B) and most of Palmer Peninsula. President Gonzalez Videla landed at Discovery Bay (Sovereignty Bay to Chileans) February 17 from the Chilean Navy transport Pinto (Chile set up a base there a year ago). He visited Palmer Land (called O'Higgins land by Chileans in honor of their national hero, Bernardo O'Higgins) and decreed the establishment of a base there February 18. Chile also advanced the argument that the new Inter-American Defense Treaty would exclude Britain from the disputed area. [See 1947 Inter-American Conference: Treaty; Other Developments]
Argentina claims everything between the 25th and 74th degrees west longitude, which embraces the Falklands, South Georgia, South Orkneys, South Shetlands and most of Palmer Peninsula. Argentina announced February 18 that it did not recognize any European colonies or possessions in Antarctica and said February 20 that Task Force No. 1 of the Argentine High Seas Fleet (2 cruisers and 3 torpedo boats) was maneuvering in Antarctic waters. [See 1948 Latin America: News in Brief; 1947 Latin America: News in Brief]
Argentine President Juan D. Peron February 16 appointed Ambassador-to-U.S. Oscar Ivanissevich as Education Secretary, a new Cabinet post [See 1947 Education and Religion: Truman Board; Other Developments]. The Government declared February 17 that all parties were to have equal privileges in campaigning for a March 7 parliamentary election but Radicals complained that they were unable to obtain radio time [See 1948 Latin America: News in Brief]. A 536-mi. railroad from Salta, Argentina, to Antofagasta, Chile, through the Andes, was opened February 20 after 27 years in construction. [See 1948 Latin America: News in Brief]
Bolivia's Cabinet resigned February 18 because President Enrique Hertzog insisted on a coalition Government while Socialist Republicans wanted to oust 2 smaller parties. [See 1948 Latin America: News in Brief]
February 18 shifted 3 Ambassadors: Carlos Martins Pereira de Sousa from Washington to Paris, Mauricio de Nabuco from the Vatican to Washington and Frederico Branco Clark from Paris to the Vatican. [See 1948 Latin America: News in Brief]
February 15 announced the arrest of 30 Communist labor leaders for allegedly plotting a nationwide production slowdown. [See 1948 Latin America: News in Brief]
Dutch Guianan journalist Simon Sanches, 32, was given a 7-month jail term in Paramaribo February 18 as leader of an unsuccessful plot against the Government [See 1947 Latin America: News in Brief]
Mexico agreed February 20 to correct breaches of its reciprocal passport treaty with the U.S., and the U.S. lifted retaliatory restrictions on visas to Mexicans. Senator Mauro Angulo, ex-Governor of Tlaxcala, was shot to death in Mexico City February 17 in an alleged political killing. [See 1948 Latin America: News in Brief]
Paraguayans February 15 elected J. Natalicio Gonzalez, 50, poet and economist, to succeed Higinio Morinigo as President August 15. Gonzalez was the only candidate. [See 1947 Latin America: News in Brief]
Venezuelan President Romulo Gallegos, first popularly elected president in the country's history, was inaugurated February 15 in Caracas. He succeeded Romulo Betancourt, who had come to power in the 1945 revolution. Gallegos February 16 named a Cabinet of 8 Democratic Action Party members and 4 independents with Andres Eloy Blanco, DA, as Foreign Affairs Minister and Eligio Anzola, DA, Interior Minister. [See 1948 Latin America: News in Brief]